Archive for November 18th, 2009

Thornton Art Gallery Opens

The following reposted from an E-mail announcement sent to SEAS faculty and students by Mary E. Lane.

We are pleased to announce the opening of the Thornton Art Gallery, the newest art exhibition at the University of Virginia.  Hosted by the Department of Science, Technology and Society and SEAS, the gallery is located in the foyer of the 2nd floor of Thornton Hall (A-wing, West side).  The first installation in the gallery is currently on display.  It consists of four paintings by local artist and UVA graduate student Katelyn Sack.  If you have not yet had the chance to see the display, please feel free to saunter by and linger. 

The Gallery seeks first to exhibit work by students, but will also grow to present work by faculty and local residents.  This first installment will run through mid-Spring, at which time a new installment will follow.  The gallery is co-curated by Benjamin Cohen (faculty, STS) and George Cahen (faculty, Department of Materials Science and Engineering), with a curatorial committee that includes Kent Wayland (post-doc, STS) and Doug Jerolimov (faculty, STS).  The committee welcomes and actively seeks inquiries from other SEAS faculty who wish to join and contribute to decisions about future installments in the Gallery. 

Most importantly, the committee seeks inquiries from student-artists who would like to display their work.  Please note that although the first installment presents paintings, the Gallery will also display photographs in the future. 

The selection process for the second installment will start at the beginning of the Spring semester. For those interested in displaying work, please contact Benjamin Cohen at:  Include “Thornton Art Gallery” in the subject header.  For those faculty members interested in joining the curatorial committee and contributing to decisions about future installments in the Gallery, please use the same contact address.

NTIS Newsletter Highlights Civil Engineering and Transportation

The November 15, 2009 issue of the NTIS Technical Reports Newsletter highlights reports dealing with civil engineering and transportation topics.  This newsletter is designed “To bring you a sampling of the latest documents added to the NTIS Database and to help you gain a greater understanding of the wealth of scitech information available from the National Technical Information Service.”  The National Technical Information Service (NTIS), is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive source of government-funded scientific, technical, engineering and business-related information.  You can access this issue of the NTIS Newsletter at or subscribe to receive future issues.

NOTE:  You will not be able to access the full text of reports from the above link.  Please check VIRGO for desired items or request needed items using Interlibrary Loan.  You may also find that searching for NTIS reports from within the Engineering Village suite of databases provides you with more detailed abstracts and other information about the reports.  You will still need to rely on other means to access full text, however.

A Robot for My Co-Pilot

In-Dash Robot Uses Facial Expressions To Communicate With Driver

The Wired (11/17, Squatriglia) “Autopia” blog reported, “Audi and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology envision a future where robots riding shotgun make us happier, safer drivers and create a ‘symbiotic relationship’ between car and driver.”  The robot, called Affective Intelligent Driving Agent, or Aida, “would analyze our driving habits, keeping track of frequent routes and destinations to provide real-time traffic info, and make friendly suggestions along the way,” as well as “give gentle reminders to buckle up, watch our speed or slow down for that school bus up ahead.”  The robot “uses a small laser video projector to convey facial expressions and other information.”  Having “human-like motion” and the ability to express emotions, researchers say, “makes it easier to convey information,” since “reading a facial expression is instantaneous.”  The researchers “plan to build a driving simulator for a controlled study” by next year, and “real-world tests will follow in 2011.”

Reposted from the November 18, 2009 ASEE First Bell briefing.

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